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You may be wondering, “Do I need a permit to replace my water heater in Olympia?”

Currently, Olympia does requires a permit for a water heater installation. The good news is we can pull the permit for you, and it will not slow down any work on our end.

Every few years, Olympia water heater codes change to adopt new installation and safety measures. While intended to increase your overall home safety, these code requirements can result in extra installation charges.

Some customers scoff at the idea of paying for a permit for a water heater replacement, but the fact of the matter is water heaters can be dangerous if not installed correctly. In fact, water heaters cause more property damage than any other home appliance. And if the unit is not installed to code by a licensed professional and causes damage, your home insurance could reject any claims. That’s why we put a premium on safety and doing everything by the book.

Your expert technician will go over an item-by-item checklist of all applicable safety codes needed for your installation prior to any work being completed, or cost to you.

We try to keep this information as up-to-date as possible, but your local installer will be able to answer any specific question you may have.

Local Water Heater & Plumbing Permits – Olympia, WA

Water Heater Codes Currently Enforced in Olympia

Earthquake Straps: Given that Washington is a known earthquake zone, it is imperative that water heaters are tied down with approved earthquake straps, with one strap on the upper 1/3 of the water heater and 2nd strap on the lower 1/3 of the tank. Inspectors of Olympia definitely aim to enforce this regulation.

Approved Location: It is definitely not permitted to install gas water heaters inside bedrooms, closets or bathrooms unless they are direct vent or power-direct vent water heaters. Folks tend to spend a majority of time in these areas and therefore are at risk of potential carbon monoxide poisoning. In Olympia, this item is rigorously enforced.

Bonding: Gas and water pipes have to be bound with wire and clamps and thus grounded. When pipes are next to electrical wires, it is possible that the pipes can be become dangerously energized as a result of failing to ground your pipes. This is outlined in the Electrical Code and is generally enforced in Olympia.

Expansion Tanks: An expansion tank is required if a plumbing system is closed. This means the backflow, which normally runs between the house and the main water supply, is blocked. However, when water is heated, it expands, causing a rise in water pressure. The increased pressure must dissipate. If there is nowhere for the pressure to go, it places undue stress and strain on your water heater and your home’s plumbing system. Increased pressure will shorten the life of your water heater. However, expansion tanks provide relief from this excess water pressure and, therefore, Olympia’s inspectors do tend to enforce their installation.

Venting: Carbon monoxide is one of the by-products of the functioning of most water heaters. Thus, heaters must be sufficiently vented, with vents comprised of non-flammable materials, to avoid health risks to homeowners.

Pans and Drains: It is sometimes the case that water heaters are installed on platforms or in internal areas, where spills can potentially cause damage to the home. In these situations, it is compulsory, according to the Code, that pans, with drain lines, are put underneath the heaters.

Pressure Regulating Valves: Extreme water pressure, measured by a PSI higher than 80, is hazardous to the successful and prolonged functioning of your plumbing and water heater. Thus, the Code maintains that pressure regulating valves must be installed in such cases where the pressure is greater than 80 PSI. We will measure your PSI and inform you of the appropriate action to take.

Greasepack Gas Valve Replacement: Given the tendency of gas valves of the greasepack kind to function incorrectly, we will have to replace any that you have.

Sediment Traps: Olympia’s inspectors usually check to make sure that you have a sediment trap installed on your gas line in order to stop sediment from reaching the combustion chamber.

Dedicated Water Shutoff: Installing a shutoff, dedicated only to the water heater, means that you can turn off your heater and simultaneously access your home’s normal supply of water. This part of the Plumbing Code is usually enforced in Olympia.

Pipe Insulation: It is mandatory that pipes in unconditioned spaces be covered with pipe insulation.